- Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan said Sam Haskell spread rumors about her sex life while he was CEO.
- Hagan said Haskell told ABC executives that she tried to hook up with Chris Harrison.
- Haskell also claimed Hagan had “slept with someone in every state” while she was Miss America.
Miss USA made headlines this year for a number of scandals, but it wasn’t the first time controversy consumed one of the country’s biggest pageants.
“Secrets of Miss America,” a new A&E series premiering on Monday, explores how the Miss America Organization unraveled under Sam Haskell, who was CEO for more than a decade. Haskell stepped down in December 2017 after vulgar and offensive internal emails in which he derided a number of former Miss America winners were leaked to the press.
In the new docuseries, former Miss America winner Mallory Hagan spoke about her history with Haskell. Hagan said that Haskell repeatedly spread false rumors about her sex life, even saying she tried to hook up with the former host of “The Bachelor,” Chris Harrison, who hosted the pageant from 2011 to 2017.
Hagan became part of the Miss America family after she won in 2013, and she said in the docuseries that Haskell told her she was like “another daughter” to him. But she said everything changed when she began dating Brent Adams, who worked for Haskell as Miss America’s vice president of marketing.
Adams said in the docuseries that Haskell wanted him to date his daughter Mary Lane instead of Hagan and he threatened to fire him multiple times if he didn’t end the relationship. He previously told The Huffington Post that Haskell told him, “You don’t need a piece of trash like Mallory, you need someone with class and money like my daughter,” and once accidentally sent a text message to a group chat suggesting his daughter try to hold Adams’ hand.
When Adams refused to dump Hagan, he said in the docuseries that Haskell began targeting her reputation and career ambitions.
Hagan wanted to become a TV host after her Miss America reign came to a close, and she said in the docuseries that Haskell promised to help her.
She moved to Los Angeles and began taking meetings with ABC executives and producers from “Dancing With the Stars.”
“It seemed to be a really great fit for me,” she said. “And suddenly that was just off the table. These things keep coming my direction and keep miraculously disappearing and it doesn’t make any sense.”
When Hagan expressed her disappointment to Adams, he said in the docuseries that he told her what Haskell had been saying about her behind closed doors.
“I noticed Sam started talking pretty bad about her in some meetings,” Adams said. “I was sitting in the office at ABC in LA with high-level network executives and Sam was talking about her trying to hook up with Chris Harrison.”
Those rumors began to spread to former Miss Americas and the tight-knit pageant community.
“We started to hear allegations that Mallory had slept with someone in every state she was visiting as Miss America, which is categorically untrue,” Claire Adkisson, Miss New York 2010, said in the docuseries.
“I did hear negative talk about Mallory, about her sexual life, that she was crazy, that she was wild,” said Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund. “It didn’t make any sense to me.”
When Hagan confided in one former unnamed Miss America about the rumors Haskell was spreading, she said they told her that the pageant’s legacy was more important than her feelings.
“It made me feel like no one’s going to care, or if they do care, they’re not going to be willing to step out and say anything about it,” Hagan said.
Hagan broke things off with Adams after he continued to work for Haskell, but she said Haskell continued to target her.
Then, in December 2017, Adams leaked Haskell’s emails to the press.
In one email, which was first published by The Huffington Post, Haskell claimed Hagan had slept with more than 25 men. In others, he frequently made fun of her weight.
Emails also appeared to show that Haskell and other Miss America executives targeted — and helped end — the lucrative pageant coaching business that Hagan began after her TV career didn’t take off.
Days after the emails were published, Haskell resigned from the organization, as did Miss America Organization president Josh Randle and chairwoman Lynn Weidner.
In a statement included in the documentary, Haskell said that much of what was reported is “dishonest, deceptive, and despicable” and “based on private emails that were stolen by ex-employees”
“Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen,” he added. “I had the utmost respect for the women of this program and contestants at every level.”
Representatives for Haskell, Harrison, and the Miss America Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“Secrets of Miss America” premieres Monday, July 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on A&E. New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.